Why marketing agency producers need to be more creative than ever

(c)iStock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

After months of planning, creative development and focus groups, going into production today can be a moment of both terror and excitement.

The explosion of new platforms, programmatic, expansion of digital and the need for brands to be publishers, the question on everybody’s mind is: “How are we going to make it?”

Great ideas, lost in complex bidding

The challenge for the industry is that most agency producers have been trained to focus on the creative side, with the bidding process now being the place where good ideas go to die.

In a pre-internet era, the value of a producer was something we can call talent brokerage: knowing who the best talent (director, photographer, animator etc.) for a project is, access to that talent and negotiating skills.

The producer used to fall under the creative department and anything that smelled of business talk was deemed uncool and frowned upon.

The result? Brands spread the production of their creative across multiple companies resulting in something incredibly complex to handle, massively inefficient, risky and resulting in inconsistent and diluted brands.

 It is an exhilarating time for creative people who enjoy making creative work 

Brands don’t want that. Brands want simplicity of engagement, a way to maximise their budgets, great looking work, agility and consistency.

Just look at what Unilever has recently created – an in-house content studio addressing the impact that ad blocking and search are having on the way people interact with marketing. This is making production simpler by making it more connected.

At McCann Barcelona we have applied this method by creating 'The Back Room' – a studio and team which delivers high quality, high volume assets and video content. We can turn any photo or piece of film into anything, from a TV ad to a banner.

Show time for production

It is show time for production. A modern head of production needs to think in a three dimensional way:

  • On an executional level: Bridging creativity with a vison to produce work across all platforms in a way that might be tailored for specific brands
  • On a business level: Foreseeing what the department’s strategy and offering should be
  • On a communications level: Building relationships with companies and individuals who provide creative services, constantly learning about new platforms and mentoring the team

This is the only way to produce award winning campaigns like Xbox’s Survival Billboard, created by McCann London.

Here the team created complex creative around a moment in time (the executional level), promoted it across paid media (the business level) and distributed in every platform (the communications level).

With production already evolving at a very fast pace, it’s evident that this will continue for the next few years. We will see more and more brands taking production in-house after seeing the success of Red Bull’s Media House and Pepsi’s Creators League.

Ultimately, producers will have to become more involved in the planning and creative process, whilst also adapting to the ever changing production process.

In a number of interviews I have seen fear in people when I tell them what we expect from producers nowadays.

However, the ones that end up joining tend to be excited about the possibilities. It is an exhilarating time for creative people who enjoy making creative work and I am intrigued to see what our industry will go on to produce. 

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8 May 2018, 4:13 p.m.

Great article with some good points!